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United States (U.S.) Mission Morocco Commemorates 80th Anniversary of Operation Torch, a Milestone in Historic United States (U.S.)-Morocco Security Partnership

Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley of the Utah National Guard today joined officials from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces at the National Library of Morocco in Rabat for the official opening of a temporary exhibition about the 80th anniversary of Operation Torch.The exhibition, a joint project of the FAR's Military History Directorate and the Utah National Guard, is free and open to the public until Nov. 20.

"Today, the U.S.-Morocco commitment to supporting regional peace and security is stronger than ever.We look back at the events of November 1942 with reverence, and we express our deep gratitude to the soldiers, sailors and airmen for the role they played in securing the foundation for that peace and security," Maj. Gen. Turley said during the opening ceremony."This history is why we were eager to partner with the FAR to provide objects for this exhibition.The Utah Military Museum has loaned more than 40 World War II-era items, including uniforms, mess kits, postcards, newspapers, photos.These items, donated by the people of Utah to our museum, and now here in Morocco, each show a different slice of the U.S.-Morocco relationship."

"It's all part of a greater whole – a relationship that, undoubtedly, will continue to grow in strength and importance in the years ahead."

Duringthe month of November, the U.S. Mission to Morocco is commemoratingthe 80thanniversary ofOperation Torch,the first major U.S. military operation of the European-North Africa theater during World WarIIand amilestonein the deep, historic ties between the United States and Morocco. In partnership with theMilitary History Directorate of theMoroccan Armed Forces(FAR),the National Library of Morocco,theTangierAmerican LegationMuseum, and the Utah National Guard, the U.S. Mission is organizing two exhibitions and a series of lectures and media engagements to highlight the significance of this anniversary.

On November 8, 1942 …

On Nov. 8, 1942, more than 30,000 U.S. troopsfrom the Western Naval Task Forcelandedin Safi,Mohammedia, and nearKenitraas part of Operation Torch, which was, at that time, the largest amphibious military landing in history. Although U.S.-Morocco diplomatic ties date back to the founding of the United States, prior to November 1942, there rarelyhadbeenmore than ahundredU.S. citizens in Morocco at any one time.  By the end of 1942,however,there were more than 100,000 U.S. military personnel in Morocco, which became a critical base of operations for Allied forces as they pushedagainstthe Nazi war machine from North Africa.  In January 1943, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Casablanca to discuss plans for executing the rest of the war against Germany and the Axis powers. During this same conference, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill met with then-Sultan Mohammed V.

U.S.-Morocco friendship today – stronger than ever

These seminal events are the foundation of the vital U.S.-Morocco security partnership that exists today.  Moroccowashome to a U.S. naval air station inKenitraduring the height of the Cold War.  Over the past two decades, Morocco has hosted African Lion, the largest military exercise in Africa and a symbol of the Kingdom's role in support of regional stability. In 2023, the Mission will celebrate the 20thanniversary of formal ties between theFARand the Utah National Guard under the U.S. Department of Defense's State Partnership Program, which has encouraged even greater security cooperation between the United States and Morocco. 

Paying tribute to the fallen

In recognition ofNov. 8'shistoricalsignificance,several dozen U.S. militaryand diplomaticpersonnel, including U.S. Consul General Lawrence Randolph and Brigadier General JonSolemof U.S. Africa Command,gatheredtodayat theWestern Naval Task Force Markerin the BenM'Sikmilitary cemeteryin Casablancatopay their respects to those who fought and died during Operation Torch. The ceremony included U.S. Marines raising the U.S. flag over the marker, which is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. Representatives from theFARand other diplomatic missions alsowere in attendance.

A permanent exhibition in Tangier

This evening,theTangierAmerican LegationMuseumis officially opening a permanent exhibition on Operation Torch in aroomthat, during World WarII, housed a listening station for the Office of Strategic Services, the main U.S. intelligence agency at the time. The new exhibition,"The Legation, Morocco, and World War II,"explores how the war transformed U.S.-Moroccorelations and the role played by the Legation– the oldest U.S. diplomatic mission anywhere in the world. This evening's exhibition openingwillfeature remarks from MeredithHindley, a U.S. historian and expert onOperationTorch.Polish Ambassador KrzysztofKarwowskiwillalsodiscussthe Legation'stiestoaNorth Africanspy network led by Polish Army MajorMieczysławSłowikowski, who went by the codename"Rygor" andwhofled Poland after it fell to the Nazis.

Operation Torch at the National Library

Starting on Nov. 14, the National Library of Morocco in Rabat is hosting a week-long exhibition about Operation Torch. The exhibition,a joint project of the FAR'sMilitary History Directorate and the Utah National Guard,places Torch in the broader context of U.S.-Morocco shared history. A featured item is a table used byMaj.Gen. GeorgeS.Patton,Jr.,commander of the U.S. troops who landed in Morocco in November 1942.The exhibition also features a uniform resembling the one worn by Gen. Patton, as wellasdozens of World WarII-era items loaned by the Utah Military Museum.Thegeneral public can visitthe exhibition,free of charge, until Nov. 20.

Lectures inCasablanca,Tetouan, Fez, and Oujda

November's commemorations also include a series of public lectures by MeredithHindley, author of "Destination Casablanca:Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II." Last week, she spoke at the Dar America cultural center in Casablanca and met with members of the Casa Memoire historic preservation organization. On Saturday, she gave a lecture to students atthe School of Humanities ofAbdelmalekEssaadiUniversity inTetouan. Later this week, she will speak at the Schools of Humanities-Sais at the University Sidi MohammedBenabdellahin Fez and the American Space in Oujda.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Morocco.
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